Greg Parker – Scientific Artist
B.Sc.(1st Class Hons), Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Photonics the University of Southampton.


In the picture on the left, Greg is the old bloke on the right with the grey beard.  He met the young enthusiastic bloke on the left for the first time at Patrick Moore’s 50th Year Anniversary party for the Sky at Night.  Greg by the way is 6 foot 2 inches tall, so the former Queen lead guitarist is at least 6 foot 4 or 5 🙂

Greg was born in Essex (U.K.) in 1954. On leaving Tavistock Community College (Tavistock, Devon) he joined the Harwell & Culham laboratories in September 1973 and he also took an H.N.C. in Applied Physics at Oxford Brookes University (then Oxford Polytechnic) as well as the world famous Harwell 3-month training course for new Assistant Scientific Officers – it really was a great course!   After two years at the Culham Laboratories working on pulsed and C.W. high power CO2 lasers, and having gained an H.N.C with Distinctions, he went to the University of Sussex in 1975 to take a B.Sc. in Physics Mathematics & Astronomy. The only real pleasure Greg had during his time in Oxfordshire was the (fairly frequent) visits to the Barley Mow in Clifton Hampden for the obligatory “three men in a boat” meal and a pint of cider.  In June 1978 he graduated from Sussex University with a First Class Honours Degree. Greg then joined the Philips Research Laboratories in Redhill, Surrey (U.K.) and at the same time enrolled for a Ph.D. with the University of Surrey, Guildford (U.K.). The Ph.D. was awarded in December 1982, the subject being “Characterisation of Deep-Levels in Silicon for Applications in Thermal Imaging”.  I have since felt that Philips would have been a really great place to gracefully end one’s research career rather than starting it there.

A further five years were spent in Industry (Semiconductor-related) until 27th April 1987 when he joined the Department of Electronics (as it then was) at the University of Southampton, Hampshire (U.K.). In December 2000 Greg became Professor of Photonics in the School of Electronics & Computer Science. His research during this time was in two main areas:
1) Novel growth systems for Silicon compatible materials
2) Silicon-based optoelectronics including nano-optical Biomimetics
Greg designed, built & developed 4 LPCVD systems for the Microelectronics Group at the University, the last system being a large 6-chamber UHV cluster-tool for sequential processing with cassette load/unload stations. These systems were used for researching novel electronic devices incorporating Si, SiGe, SiGeC and Silicon Nitride.

Around 1994 Greg was investigating the formation of high aspect-ratio single crystal Silicon pillars for their light emission properties. This research included (unintentionally!) the fabrication of a Photonic Crystal as part of the process. Since that time Greg’s research mainly concentrated on Silicon compatible Photonic Crystal structures and their applications.

Greg has so far published over 130-refereed papers and three books, his final paper from Southampton University being a 20-page review article on Nano-optical Biomimetics (Journal of Materials Science, 2010).  His first book publication was an introductory semiconductor physics textbook which appeared in 1994 and is still selling well (though with a different publisher). His second book “Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images:  Astrophotography with Affordable Equipment and Software” one of the Patrick Moore “Practical Astronomy” series was published by Springer in September 2007.  His third, and latest publication is Star Vistas, a large-format coffee-table picture book published by Springer and contains the best deep-sky images acquired from the New Forest Observatory from early 2005 until early 2008.  Star Vistas first appeared on the shelves in March 2009 and has Forewords written by (the late) Sir Arthur C Clarke, Sir Patrick Moore and Dr. Brian May.  Greg has something like 6 more books in various stages of completion which will slowly make their way into the market in the coming years.

Greg is the Managing Director of Parker Technology, which is his Consultancy Company, having taken early retirement, age 56, from the University of Southampton on 30th September 2010. Prior to creating the University spin-out company Mesophotonics Ltd. in July 2001, he also created and sold two other successful companies. High-Power High-Speed Xenon flashguns and the man who designed them (if required) are available for hire from here.

Greg currently lives in the New Forest (U.K.) with his wife, son, dog, cat, Koi, Celestron Nexstar 11 computer-controlled telescope, and Toshiba Libretto U100 – the most amazing sub-notebook on the planet.  On December 1st 2011 he was made Emeritus Professor of Photonics at the University of Southampton.  He has constructed the “mini-WASP” imaging array at the New Forest Observatory, possibly the most powerful amateur imaging facility on the planet, and he is very fortunate to have generous sponsorship from several major astronomical equipment manufacturers to complete this mammoth task.  The mini-WASP array uses 3 imaging telescopes to grab 3x as much data as a single telescope in the same length of time.  It is named after the SuperWASP facility, not because it is used to carry out a Wide Angle Search for Planets – but because it too uses parallel imaging as its basis of operation.  First light for the mini-WASP was during Autumn 2011 and it was finally fully commissioned in November 2012 –  so keep visiting this site or the NFO site to keep right up to date with this groundbreaking project   A four-monitor computer system based on a 2.5GHz Quadcore Intel processor, 8 Gig of RAM, two NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT GPUs, and a Windows 7 64-bit OS has been assembled to drive the mini-WASP array from indoors, and to carry out all the image processing for the Scientific Artist.

Greg’s e-mail address is

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